Tag Archives: Phree

Rewind: 50 gizmos and gadgets that made us say ‘wow’

2015 was quite the year. Here are just some of the awesome devices with mainstream appeal that caught our eye over the last 12 months. 


The first social robot that connects, protects and interacts with each member of your family.


If you give this automated machine $2, it will craft a peanut butter sandwich on white bread with your choice of honey, blackberry jam, sweet chili or chocolate sauce.


Finally, there’s an open source ergonomic keyboard that gives your overworked pinkies a break and puts your thumbs to work.

Voltera V-One

Tired of delays and unnecessary expenses? Then you’ll love this laptop-sized printer that can turn design files into prototype circuit boards in minutes.


Design, print and eat your own pancakes.

PicoBrew Pico

Why head out to the package store when you can brew your own fresh, personalized craft beer right at home?

Forever 21 Thread Screen

The team of BREAKFAST and Forever 21 developed a massive, one-ton machine that turns your Instagram photos into thread artwork.


From hip-hop to dubstep, this wearable kit lets you play music right from your body using 100+ sounds and 300+ music applications.


While it may look like a 3D printer, this PCB milling machine enables you to prototype circuit boards right from your desk.

Tech Tats

Chaotic Moon Studios have devised a cutting-edge tattoo kit, which allows for the monitoring of your own body activity.

Layered Fabric 3D Printer

Who needs a toy store when you can 3D print your own soft and deformable stuffed animals from layers of off-the-shelf fabric?


Sand castles are so 2014. This turtlish autonomous robot can create large scale art on the beach.

OpenROV Trident

Whereas most drones are made for the sky, this remote-controlled, camera-equipped ROV is meant for underwater exploration.

Reality Editor

What if reprogramming your devices was as simple as drawing lines between them? Thanks to MIT’s Fluid Interfaces Group, it may soon be.


Sorry selfie sticks, your days are numbered. This palm-sized drone features GPS auto-following and a high-res camera.

BeON Home

There are smart lights, then there are out-smart lights. This system will make having a safer, smarter home as simple as screwing in a bulb.

PowerUp FPV

Your old-school paper airplane just got a whole heck of a lot cooler with a live-streaming camera.


A revolutionary pen that turns the world around you into a notepad.

The Things Network

Make your city smart with this global, crowdsourced and decentralized IoT network.

Ripple Maker

A 3D printing-inspired device that can etch art on the foam of your coffee.


Grow my gosh! This 2015 Hackaday Prize entry is the world’s first open source CNC farming machine.

Alpha 2

Could this humanoid robot become the newest addition to your family?


By tapping into the human sensor, this intelligent technology can significantly improve decision-making for anyone’s health and well-being.


Replace your keys with your smartphone in just seconds.


Like OnStar for seniors, this all-in-one, voice-controlled wearable will help keep the elderly independent, active and safe.


The most adaptable shoes you’ll ever own, customized straight from your smartphone.


A wireless button that can control your favorite smart functions.


A $9 computer. ‘nuff said.

DrinkMate Mini

Have you had a couple of drinks? Don’t worry, this tiny iPhone breathalyzer has got your BAC!


Love nugget ice? Hate buying bags? This affordable gadget is for you.


This high-precision, Arduino-based desktop robotic arm can do pretty much anything.


BYOD: Build your own device! Piece together your own phone and give inanimate objects the power of cellular communication.


Based on the Arduino and Raspberry Pi, this open source A.I. system plays media, controls lights and more.

Spinn Coffee

This appliance can whip up anything from drip coffee to espresso, depending on how fast the brewer spins.


Who needs weather apps when you can recreate the forecast from right inside your living room?


A complete personal fabrication system crammed into a single, sleek robotic arm for your desk.

Fibonacci Clock

Think reading an analog clock is tough? Tell time using glowing lights and the Fibonacci sequence.


Design and create seamless, ready-to-wear garments based on custom 3D geometries.


Could this soccer ball-shaped drone be the safest flying bot to date?


A drone that can fly and swim.


Sharp unveiled a new smartphone in the form of an adorable robot.

Dancing Paper

Bet you’ve never seen a bunch of origami bust a move.


A portable guitar that teaches you to play and lets you jam on the go.


This modular case for your smartphone gives you the ability to add and remove physical modules whenever necessary.


A new breed of instruments that can drop the beat at home, in the studio or live on stage.


What if you could play a handpan like an electronic musical instrument?


The world’s first olfactory alarm clock wakes you up with your favorite scents instead of sound.


This smart lamp learns your habits, syncs to your body clock and keeps you healthy through natural lighting patterns.

CMYK 4.0

If you’re looking to make your commute from home to the office a bit more efficient, then this foldable electric bike may be for you.


The world’s first artificially intelligent companion bot, designed to engage and grow with you.


This shape-changing soft robot can be a phone, a wristwatch, a keyboard, a lamp and more.

Cord UIs

Imagine if you could control your gadgetry using cords and cables.


There’s finally an automated smart trashcan that not only opens with a wave of a hand but vacuums up dust and restocks itself.


These smart socks will pause your binge-watching session when you fall asleep.


Goodbye, shaky hands! Transform your smartphone into a 3D scanner.


This revolutionary pen lets you write on virtually any surface

Phree lets you take notes from just about anywhere, on anything.

While the pen remains the natural instrument of choice for a majority of people, the proliferation of mobile technology has ushered in a new wave of touch-enabled input devices. Contrary to the strong beliefs of the late Steve Jobs, the stylus refuses to disappear. Though as sleek and futuristic as today’s screens may be, writing and drawing on them isn’t always as spontaneous and intuitive as most of us would like them to be. That was until now at least.


Developed by Tel Aviv-based startup OTM Technologies, Phree allows users to write, draw, annotate and express themselves in ways never before imaginable. While smartphones are more than capable dictaphones and notepads, for many, there are still plenty of everyday scenarios where putting a pen to paper is the only way. And when those moments arise, it requires a hard surface to get the job done. With this smart pen, however, notetakers can simply jot down thoughts or take messages on virtually anything within Bluetooth range of their gadget, revealing the resulting input on-screen.

As if that wasn’t enough, Phree enables users to answer calls through its built-in speaker and headset jack, as well as receive and manage notifications on an OLED touchscreen. Don’t worry, responding to those messages aren’t done on the super tiny display, but instead, written on the back of a hand, a dashboard, a desktop or anything else. Furthermore, the touchscreen lets its owner select from different modes, like pen to highlighter or from SMS to phone call.

“For real-time on-screen digital ink rendering, the latency between our writing motion and the perceived ink trace needs to be an eye-blink – nearly instantaneous – for it to feel ‘right.’ We also want to be able to write and sketch wherever we are and whenever we want to. When you want to jot something down, you don’t want to unlock your phone, open an app and wait,” the OTM crew writes.


OTM stands for Optical Translation Measurement, the startup’s patented 3D laser interferometer sensor that tracks motion. Particularly, it employs motion tracking lasers to follow the movement of the pen and trace the shape of the letters as they are made out on a surface with extremely high accuracy, up to one inch away. This is accomplished by measuring the interference signal between the laser beam projected onto the surface and its reflections. These words are then magically typed onto the phone’s screen via Bluetooth. Phree can also distinguish drawings and symbols so users can send emojis. That probably makes many of you happy. 🙂

“Phree’s graphical touchscreen is used for Bluetooth connection and context-sensitive interaction with various applications. The standard icons on the display include notifications – messages and phone calls. When used with specific applications the display will change to allow quick interaction with common features. For note taking, for example, the display may show pen, eraser, and highlighter. The touch panel recognizes single fingers and swipe left/right,” the team adds.


Phree will connect to practically any Bluetooth-embedded device, whether that’s a tablet or TV, and is compatible with apps including Microsoft Office, OneNote, EverNote, Acrobat, Google Handwriting Keyboard and Viber. And it works as a wireless mouse for your laptop, too. Impressively, it can even be used as a biometric identification tool by learning a person’s handwriting style and the way that they hold a pen.

Weighing in at just 30 grams, this pocket-sized gizmo can be easily carried around and is currently available in black, graphite, silver and gold. Beyond that, Phree boasts a wireless charging case.

“The case cap attaches magnetically to the body of the case to form an adjustable stand for any smartphone. Just place your phone in the stand, begin writing or drawing off-screen with Phree and voilà – you have an instant mobile workstation that actually works,” its creators add.


As computing continues to migrate towards smaller-screened devices, the appeal of something like Phree increases tremendously. Intrigued? Pre-order one for yourself on its Kickstarter page, where OTM Technologies has soared right past its $100,000 goal. Shipment is expected to kick off in the spring of 2016.